Title: Fantasiestucke, Piano Trio No.3, Piano Quartet
Performer: Florestan Trio, Thomas Riebl
Length: 28 minutes
I think Schumann is really coming into his own lately. After a bunch of short piano collections which left me cold, his later piano work, songs, symphonies and in this case chamber works have left me much happier with him.
This quartet is a perfect example of what I mean, it is a shining example of romanticist composition while the use of a viola make the music sometimes harken back to a much older age.
The slow movement here, the third one, is a lovely piece of melodic composing, however the other movements really don't let the side down, and the highlight goes to the first movement. So it is a quite accomplished piece of work, none of the movements are that different in qualitative terms from any of the others, the piece flows marvellously. Getting married to Clara really helped his stuff.
Piano quartets for that standard lineup were written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Robert Schumann, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvořák and Gabriel Fauré among others. In the 20th century, composers have also written for more varied groups, with Anton Webern's Quartet, opus 22 (1930), for example, being for piano, violin, clarinet and tenor saxophone, and Olivier Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps (1940) for piano, violin, cello and clarinet. An early example of this can be found in Franz Berwald's quartet for piano, horn, clarinet and bassoon (1819), his opus 1.